About the church

Built: 1899 - 1902
Architect: Beresford Pite
Listing: grade 2*

The building is in a Byzantine style with stock brick walls relieved by bands purple Berkhampstead bricks and Portland Stone dressings. The joints of the bricks are raked out and the pointing is recessed from the face. The main dome over the nave crossing, together with the domical roofs to the 'western' stair turrets and the bell tower are covered in small Delabole slates. The main roofing is in a patent interlocking pantile. The principal glazing bars to the leaded windows are heavily coated in zinc and the design of the windows themselves (filled with green and white glass) is subtle and effective.

The plan and volume of the building and its furnishings are of exceptional architectural quality and considerable liturgical interest. Internally the art nouveau influence is more pronounced that the outside of the building would suggest.

The nave and transepts of the basilica create an uninterrupted worship space, full of light but without glare. The floors are ramped down towards the central crossing under the dome, with the side aisles covered in black and white marble in chequer pattern. The sanctuary is formed by a five-sided apse at the 'east' end (actually the west end of the church) and the altar stands in front of the sanctuary as a focal point for our worship.

The interior walls of the basilica are of undecorated rendering with abundant and beautifully painted lettering adorning the 'east' wall of the Nave. The ceilings are lined in softwood boarding with a diaper pattern produced by alternately staining and leaving unstained short lengths of boarding.

The entire building has been substantial altered: the nave (reduced in length) and sanctuary are perhaps the only two remaining areas close to the architect's original concept.